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First test win for the Czechs

An historic day for Czech rugby as after five years as 12 attempts they won their first test match, beating Switzerland from the final play of the game after a hard-fought battle in wind-swept Yverdon.

Switzerland had won all four of their previous matches against Czechia – some quite comfortably – and began with confidence, playing with a stiff breeze behind them, and a couple of penalties soon took them down to a lineout 5m from the Czech line. But a poor throw gave the ball to the Czechs, after which it became clear that this game promised to be different.

Working well as a unit, the Czechs worked their way patiently into the Swiss half and quickly engineered some promising opportunities.

The Swiss had much the stronger pack, however, and for much of the first half the Swiss were hammering against a solid Czech defence until eventually, after 31 minutes, Anais Kistler found space out wide for the first try of the game. 5-0 to Switzerland.

But within six minutes the scores were levelled. Again patient build-up play took the Czechs into the Swiss 22, and then down to the Swiss line, the ball was quickly moved right and Alexandra Žitkova was on hand to score. 5-5, which is where the first half ended.

The second half was largely deadlocked, though the Czechs had more possession as the game wore on. The error rate also gradually rose and the battle wore down both teams.

Then in the dying moment a kick ahead by Žitkova resulted in a lineout deep on the left in Swiss territory. From the resulting play the Czech were blocked on the left, but the ball was worked right and Daniela Ferugová looked to have made the winning score – but was just tackled into touch on the Swiss line.

The Swiss had a chance to clear with a penalty, but the wind that had lost them the lineout at the start of the game now robbed them of touch at the end. The ball held up in the air and dropped into Czech hands. The Swiss still had a chance to end the game, but with time up the Czechs turned them over, the ever-reliable Žitkova kicked perfectly into space to find Lucie Oupicová sprinting in to touch down and win the game for the visitors.

The result was the Czechs first win in five years and 12 attempts. They will now have to wait until March to see if they can beat Finland in Prague and win the European Trophy.

Switzerland: 1 - Victoria Laternser; 2 - Angela Stadelmann; 3 - Katja Dick; 4 - Anais Kistler; 5 - Juliette Pera; 6 - Carole Gachet; 7 - Julie Gaudin; 8 - Sabrina Walti; 9 - Fabienne Ullmann; 10 - Simone Haymoz; 11 - Nicole Gerber-Imsand; 12 - Rahel Bosshard; 13 - Ester Duss; 14 - Carole Casparis; 15- Selina Fux;
Replacements: 16 - Sandra Lecci; 17 - Rebecca Ellis; 18 – Sorli Rico; 19 – Stephanie Klupp; 20 – Barry Oumu; 21 – Laline Da Silva Goes;  22 – Audrey Kim; 23 – Salome Hosch

Czechia: 1- Renata Frýdlová, RC Mountfield Říčany; 2- Aneta Šmejdová, RC Sparta Praha; 3 Dominiha Czholčková; 4- Petra Křiklánová, RCTatra Smíchov; 5- Kristýna Plevová, RC Tatra Smíchov; 6- Jana Urbanová, RC Sparta Praha; 7- Tereza Haffnerová, RC Sparta Praha; 8- Sára Lea Exnerová, RC Sparta Praha; 9- Klára Hladilová, RC Sparta Praha; 10- Alexandra Žitkova, RC Tatra Smíchov; 11- Tereza Baťhová, RK Petrovice; 12- Kateřina Daníčková, RC Tatra Smíchov; 13- Lucie Oupicová, RC Mountfield Říčany; 14- Michaela Švecová, RC Mountfield Říčany; 15- Daniela Ferugová, TJ Sokol Mariánské Hory

Replacements: 16- Zuzana Skokanová, RC JIMI Vyškov; 17- Kateřina Wackermannová, RC Tatra Smíchov; 18- Gabriela Špačková, RC Zlín; 19- Jana Nedvídková, RC Sedlčany; 20- Alexandra Zítková, RC Dragon Brno; 21- Karolína Hudečková, RC JIMI Vyškov; 22- Zuzana Žároská, RC JIMI Vyškov; 23- Hana Běhalová, RC Dragon Brno